FC Cincinnati has little time or reason to celebrate the end of their 12-match winless streak with one of the hotter teams in MLS next on the schedule.
Atlanta United (7-7-9, 30 points) host Cincinnati (4-10-8, 20 points) on Wednesday looking for their sixth win in seven matches.
Cincinnati had five losses and seven ties before defeating Toronto FC 2-0 on Saturday in a matchup of the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference.
That doesn’t matter now, Cincinnati coach Jaap Stam cautioned.
“We need to look ahead,” he said. “Of course, after Toronto everybody was happy and delighted, and you can celebrate a little bit, but there’s not much time. You need to prepare for the next game and it’s going to be Atlanta.”
Atlanta is 5-1-1 in the past seven games and has turned around its season. On Friday, the Five Stripes defeated Orlando City 3-0 to earn the first win for coach Gonzalo Pineda in his second match since being hired in August.
“It’s not about my first victory,” he said. “It’s about these three points that are valuable for the club.”
The Five Stripes can relate to what Cincinnati endured, having gone through their own 0-5-7 stretch earlier this season under Gabriel Heinze, before he was fired on July 18, and interim coach Rob Valentino.
Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan said Pineda has changed the culture.
“He’s come in and instantly has tried to create a positive vibe within the group,” he said.
Cincinnati will have to deal with Atlanta star striker Josef Martinez, who returns from international duty with Venezuela.
“Atlanta’s a good side, a quality team,” Stam said. “They have a lot of movement, a lot of individual quality as well. It’s going to be a difficult game and we need to prepare for that and try to get a result out of this game.”
–Field Level Media
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